Article 50 Shades Darker

IMG_2451There are those who voted for the UK to leave the European Union in last year’s referendum for perfectly valid personally political reasons. I may not agree with their conclusions but respect that if they researched and understood how specific aspects of being in or out of the EU could directly affect them then they had as much right to cast their vote based on their information as I had to cast my own.

Plus, it was a yes/no deal so afterwards there were always going to be some who were disappointed their perspective was not the dominant one. These things are simple facts. What a pity so many other facts have been smudged, ignored, misunderstood or deliberately misrepresented by both political figures and members of the electorate before, during and after the referendum.

Today those who wanted to leave because they believed it would give the people back control of their own country fail to see the vile irony in an unelected Prime Minister – somebody who campaigned to remain in the EU – triggering the country’s slow departure from the union in terms harder than the most ardent UKIPper could have wished for in their moistest dreams. Of course they fail to see this irony, these are the same people who believe that the judges who insisted the government act in a correctly BRITISH parliamentary manner by putting the bill to leave through both houses prior to triggering Article 50 are enemies of the people. No, you fuckwits, they are actually protecting the sovereignty you alleged to care so much about during the campaign for the referendum.

The rise of hate crimes based on race, colour, creed or sexual preference is a concern. Do those who voted to leave because they wrongly assumed they were having a say in the cultural practices of everyone they consider alien to themselves truly believe they now have a mandate to spew their hate out in public as though the very necessary (and many generations too late) inclusion politics of the 80s to the mid 2010s have been abolished? Widespread bigotry and fear of or animosity towards the other are possibly ingrained Imperial memories but should have no place in the twenty-first century when farcically privileged ‘excuses’ for such opinions or behaviour should have evaporated away in a postmodern puff of globalised communications.

Despite the fact that we are now digitally empowered to potentially be one of the most well informed generations history has ever known it is as though there are those who deliberately set out to misinform themselves. That’s tragic. That various powerful and self-interested bodies and individuals also increase the spread of fake news and information for their own devious purposes is not tragic, it is maliciously criminal. And it is, sadly, all too human.

Brexit is not the sacking of Rome. It is not Agincourt. It is not the encirclement of Berlin in 1945. It is a careless farmer shooting themselves in the foot with the shotgun they really shouldn’t carry about when they’ve had so much cider. The farmer can survive a shotgun blast to the foot but that doesn’t mean s/he isn’t a fool for clumsily toying with the trigger in the first place. In ten years time I fully expect those of us who have been dismissed as remoaners to be sick and tired of telling their brexiteering friends and family that they did try to warn them leaving the EU could very well be the first step on a path that would see citizens with fewer civil rights, lower wages in terms of living costs against inflation, nothing left freely available on the National Health Service and a completely collapsed transport infrastructure including the still undelivered HS2 link to the North.

No, I won’t feel smug about it but I guess I’ll finally stop being told I’m unpatriotic or just plain wrong for holding the opinions I do about Britain’s now immolated relationship with her former European trade partners.

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